Stereocheck Reviews:
8 Best Streaming Players
8 Best Streaming Players
8 Best Streaming Players

The 8 Best Streaming Music Players: Our Top 8 Hot Picks!

Audio streamers are currently the most advanced method for playing music, serving as versatile devices that enable the management of network data flow and function as complete digital-to-analog converters. The rapid development of this technology sector adds an extra layer of intrigue to our latest ranking of the top streaming players for summer 2024.

8. Matrix Audio Mini-I 4

8. Matrix Audio Mini-I 4

The Matrix Audio Mini-I 4 audio streamer features a robust quad-core ARM Cortex-A55 processor (2 GHz) and an ES9039Q2M DAC with extensive decoding capabilities, supporting up to PCM 32/768, DSD512, and MQA. It is equipped with up-to-date network capabilities, including support for AirPlay 2 and DLNA, as well as built-in clients for Tidal, Spotify, vTuner, and Qobuz. The 3.46” touch screen ensures excellent ergonomics, and the sound quality is also impressive, with exceptional detailing and flexibility.

Pros: extensive options, good resolution

Cons: limited bass

Verdict: A multifunctional and high-quality model

Specifications: Resolution – 32/768 | Signal-to-noise ratio – 127 dB | Supported formats – MP3, WMA, WAV, AIF, AIFC, AIFF, AAC, FLAC, OGG, APE, ALAC, M4A, DSF, DFF, CUE | Weight – n/a

7. Arcam RADIA ST5

7. Arcam RADIA ST5

Arcam is expanding its highly praised RADIA series with the introduction of the ST5 network player. This model offers connectivity options through both Wi-Fi and wired Ethernet, compatibility with various file formats such as MQA, and features built-in Spotify and Tidal clients. Additionally, it allows for streaming via Airplay2 or Google Chromecast. While the ESS ES9018 DAC chip does not support ultra-high resolution (capped at 24/192), the device delivers a warm and dynamic sound profile that truly immerses you in the music.

Pros: very dynamic and transparent sound

Cons: no support for 32 bit PCM

Verdict: Arcam RADIA is a great platform

Specifications: Resolution – 24/192 | Signal-to-noise ratio – 115 dB | Supported formats – MP3, WMA, WAV, AIF, AIFC, AIFF, AAC, FLAC, OGG, APE, ALAC, M4A, DSF, DFF | Weight – 3.5 kg

6. Aune S10 Pro

6. Aune S10 Pro

The Aune S10 Pro streamer is equipped with a generous 2 TB file storage and features the ES9038 Pro chip and FPGA matrix paired with a precise Titans FS-1 PLL clock generator. It boasts exceptional processing power with the use of NXP Freescale and ARM Cortex-M7, keeping jitter below 181 ps and distortion at a critically low 0.00029%. The sound quality is captivating, offering a wide scale and panorama.

Pros: excellent functionality, large-scale sound

Cons: there are flaws in microdynamics

Verdict: A Swiss Army Knife for Network Audio

Specifications: Resolution – 32/768 | Signal-to-noise ratio – n/a | Supported formats – MP3, WMA, WAV, AIF, AIFC, AIFF, AAC, FLAC, OGG, APE, ALAC, M4A, DSF, DFF | Weight – 3 kg

5. AudioLab 9000N

5. AudioLab 9000N

The AudioLab 9000N streamer boasts an aesthetically pleasing design featuring arrows, while delivering enchanting sound quality. Its warm, rich, and enveloping sound, coupled with a slightly downshifted tonal balance, allows for fatigue-free music listening for extended periods, enabling listeners to delve into the nuances of the music. Equipped with the Lumin streaming platform, an eight-channel ESS9038 Pro DAC, and compatibility with Airplay 2, Tidal, Spotify, and Roon, this network player offers a comprehensive audio experience.

Pros: Excellent bass, impressive stereo imaging

Cons: darkish tonal balance

Verdict: AudioLab’s 9000 Series Will Definitely Be to Your Taste

Specifications: Resolution – 32/768 | Signal-to-noise ratio – 120 dB | Supported formats – MP3, WMA, WAV, AIF, AIFC, AIFF, AAC, FLAC, OGG, APE, ALAC, M4A, DSF, DFF | Weight – 6.2 kg

4. YBA Genesis S2

4. YBA Genesis S2

The YBA Genesis S2 promises exceptional high-resolution audio quality, delivering an abundance of intricate details. Utilizing the AKM AK4497SEQ DAC chip and a precise component foundation (including an in-house FPGA, KDS oscillators, and Panasonic capacitors), the low distortion level of 0.0008% underscores the meticulous design approach. The streaming capabilities of this network player are remarkably versatile.

Pros: perfect timbre picture, attention to detail

Cons: not always effective in “heavy” genres

Verdict: A charming web player

Specifications: Resolution – 32/768 | Signal-to-noise ratio – 107 dB | Supported formats – MP3, WMA, WAV, AIF, AIFC, AIFF, AAC, FLAC, OGG, APE, ALAC, M4A, DSF, DFF, CUE | Weight – 9.1 kg

 

3. Aurender A30

3. Aurender A30

The high-end model Aurender A30 delivers a pure, organic sound quality. Equipped with AKM 4497 converters in dual mono configuration with FPGA and a dedicated OCXO clock generator, it minimizes jitter to an impressive 100 fs. With a built-in TEAC CD-ROM for CD ripping, a spacious 10 TB HDD, and a linear power supply, this network player is perfect for audiophiles with extensive music collections seeking stable performance.

Pros: natural, balanced sound, reference functionality

Cons: nothing significant (with a discount on the price)

Verdict: Aurender Sets Industry Standards

Specifications: Resolution – 32/768 | Signal-to-noise ratio – n/a | Supported formats – MP3, WMA, WAV, AIF, AIFC, AIFF, AAC, FLAC, OGG, APE, ALAC, M4A, DSF, DFF, CUE | Weight – 17 kg

2. DCS Rossini APEX DAC

2. DCS Rossini APEX DAC

The most recent iteration of the exclusive DCS Ring DAC digital-to-analog converter is truly remarkable, and the exceptional performance of the DCS Rossini APEX DAC serves as undeniable evidence of this. This streamer is constructed with a series of programmable logic arrays and employs the “auto-synchronization” method, which was initially implemented in the Vivaldi line. The device is equipped with two separate power transformers featuring a power stabilization system. Offering a wide range of network connectivity options, the DCS Rossini APEX DAC is an enticing choice for audiophiles who are willing to invest in top-tier audio equipment.

Pros: Absolutely exquisite execution with genuine brilliance

Cons: very high price

Verdict: Ring DAC is serious!

Specifications: Resolution – 24/384 | Signal-to-noise ratio – 115 dB | Supported formats – MP3, WMA, WAV, AIF, AIFC, AIFF, AAC, FLAC, OGG, APE, ALAC, M4A, DSF, DFF, CUE | Weight – 15.6 kg

 

1. Metronome DSC

1. Metronome DSC

The Metronome DSC streamer, despite its high cost, ensures a performance reminiscent of “opening a window to the street” – offering the purest, richest, and most precise sound quality. This is achieved through its proprietary architecture that prioritizes power supply. Additionally, it features a preamplifier developed in collaboration with the renowned Leedh Processing. Unfortunately, it lacks onboard Wi-Fi capability and is limited to DSD256 streaming.

Pros: crystal clear sound

Cons: huge price tag, no wireless connection

Verdict: Genuine High End

Specifications: Resolution – 32/384 | Signal-to-noise ratio – 127 dB | Supported formats – MP3, WMA, WAV, AIF, AIFC, AIFF, AAC, FLAC, OGG, APE, ALAC, M4A, DSF, DFF, CUE | Weight – 17 kg

 

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